How do we define Public Interest Technology?


Technology, created through interdisciplinary design processes, which serves the public and uses technology to advance justice, equalty, and inclusion in society. We are part of the PIT University Network which has taken on the challenge by Ford Foundation's definition of PIT.
Examples of Public Interest Tech

PIT is a broad field which encapsulates many different types of technology - arts tech, civic tech, education tech, and more! Here are some key examples of PIT in the real world:
  • Ushahidi: since 2008, thousands have used this crowdsourcing platform in disaster settings, from violence post-election to earthquakes and floods worldwide
  • Stenaapp: an application that connects artists to coffeeshops to display and sell their artwork
  • CUImpact: an application that connects students on Columbia's campus to activist events based on social justice issues
  • coUrbanize: an application that tackles gentrification issues by connecting real estate developers and planners with neighbors
  • Anti Eviction Mapping: is a volunteer data-visualization, data analysis, and storytelling collective documenting the dispossession and resistance upon gentrifying landscapes
  • OneBusAway: Results from Providing Real-Time Arrival Information for Public Transit (2010)
  • Discrimination in Online Ad Delivery:: Google ads, black names and white names, racial discrimination, and click advertising (2013)
What will I do at the PIT Summer Lab?

You will collaborate with people from diverse fields, including Journalism, Architecture, Urban Planning, Design, Computer Science, Sociology,and Anthropology to research and build technology that works in the public interest. Projects will be determined by the students with ample mentorship and support. We will also establish connections to community partners with whom students might choose to engage.
You will learn through thinking and doing.
You will meet PIT professionals and learn about PIT in industry.
You will join and build a tight-knit cohort of individuals devoted to using their respective skills to advance society and the built environment in meaningful ways.
The lab will be run by:
Lydia Chilton: School of Engineering, Computer Science
Mark Hansen: School of Journalism
Laura Kurgan: Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation